We are living in a time when the ‘ordinary’ man or woman on the street is being transformed by spiritual awakening experiences. It appears that some people, even without knowing anything much about spirituality, are experiencing the light of universal truth as never before. I heard recently of one man’s awakening, a working class factory worker, who said that he did not even have the word ‘spiritual’ in his vocabulary, yet he experienced a physical Kundalini1 experience whilst working at the top of a ladder at his work, and he was never the same again. His personal and public life became significantly changed. Many Spiritual teachers – of which there are now an ever growing number, are reporting that people are showing an interest in Spirituality and wanting to explore its nature. This interest is demonstrated by the increasing numbers of alternative media channels that have appeared and the airtime given to ‘New Age’ topics on TV and radio. Not to mention the increasing amounts of information available on the internet that ranges from angels, UFOs, Ascension, meditation, enlightenment teaching and more. It seems people are searching for answers from within. So what is ‘Spiritual Awakening’? babies. Let’s start from the beginning when we were

For a baby, there is no experience of separation between him/her and the outside world, i.e. the mother. There is no ‘me’ or ‘them’. Everything is one. But then, one day, the baby notices that the mother (or primary carer) is out there –separate- and therefore experiences its own self as ‘over here’ i.e. something separate from the mother. This is when a shift takes place at core level when there is a deep inner separation experience, underneath which is actually an element of unconscious loss or fear. This sense of having lost something that we need to get back is at the basis of all human suffering. Once separation has been experienced, from that moment there arises a need to find wholeness again. We may not understand it, and usually we don’t, nevertheless the need is there. We may seek to explain our problems and suffering with psychological or emotional explanations, but deeper than even those is a sense of loss – a deep sense of separation from everybody and everything – even loved ones. This translates in seeking things outside of us – a relationship, alcohol, sex, drugs, excitement, money or whatever it may be. The dichotomy is the need to seek to regain Wholeness, we do this from a sense of being separate and the irony is the impossibility of Wholeness and Separation (individuality) existing together. If we are whole then there can be no separation. If we are separate there can be no wholeness (in our experience). So we do the next best thing, We try to create a persona for ourselves, an individual identity that is whole and complete that we believe (hope is probably more accurate) will replace this sense of separation. Consequently we spend many a long moment, day, week and finally years developing a personal image (it matters little that this may be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – the important thing to us is that we have one.)

But this image always fails to satisfy in any lasting way. This is because it is not real. It is a fiction of our cunning imagination and beliefs. It is a compensation for something that we unconsciously feel is missing within us. For example, if I believe I am happy, my image will be one that reflects that belief so that what I say or do shows others, (and myself), that I am happy. Anything else would be outside my personal comfort zone, since my basic belief is that ‘I am happy.’ When something unhappy occurs, the return to ‘happiness’ will be the top of the priority list as otherwise we will feel too uncomfortable. This whole game – and it is, in effect, a game - is the work of the ego or personality. The ego is what arose at the point of separation and it wants to achieve wholeness through this identity-creation. It is so relentless and clever that we are usually bought into its plan, believing the identity to be who we are. And then if awakening occurs, this is what seems to happen. When a person becomes spiritually awakened is that they become tired of this constant process. They may not at first understand what it is that they are tired of but it is likely to be a feeling of emotional weariness or acknowledgement that quite honestly they have had enough of suffering or of the way in which they’ve hitherto thought and acted. Clearly this may be a traumatic time because in the process of such admission, there is an element of defeat. But it is important to allow these feelings to arise. It’s part of the process. As the identity the person has formed for himself and has projected to the outside world moves into his conscious awareness, a change begins to occur at a more fundamental level. Some may experience the initial process as the ‘dark night of their soul’. This is when outside help may be useful; indeed some will experience awakening as a crisis of deepest proportions, and we see this being sadly unrecognised in doctors’ surgeries and psychiatric units often resulting in a medical diagnosis and drug treatment which can take such people on a route from which it is difficult to emerge intact. Whilst drugs may, in some circumstances, be appropriate the presence and involvement of someone who can understand the deeper, spiritual aspects of the condition is essential. Spiritual Awakening is a realisation that there is something – something real – beyond the identity. That if we are not the identity we do not cease to exist, therefore we must be more than that. With continued inner work, to release that which is false (identity and emotional pain) it will become clear that the self- created image is bogus and unreal and that what is real is the permanent truth of our Real Self that is beyond ego or image. The Real Self has no need for the image. In reality we are that Something, that non-religious God, that always and every-ready intelligence, that Awareness or Consciousness (whichever word you prefer –it matters not) that is everywhere, in all people and in all things and has always existed. This Life Force joins us all into one embrace, into one Ocean, into Oneness. Separation was an illusion all along. Sri Ramana Maharshi, the Indian sage who attained liberation at just 16 years said in explanation

‚A person goes to sleep in this hall and dreams he has gone on a world tour, travelling over various continents. After many years of strenuous travel, he returns to this country, enters the ashram and walks into the hall. Just at that moment he wakes up and finds that he has not moved at all but has been sleeping. He has not returned after great efforts to this hall, but was here all the time.‛ For the individual, awakening cannot be pre-determined. It is a matter of Grace or Consciousness of itself coming alive from within our very own life. And for some, awakening seems to occur in one spontaneous moment, for others it may take an hour, weeks, months, years or a lifetime. But we can prepare for it, throughout inner development and spiritual practice. In fact this is essential, and many who awaken have been on the spiritual path for some time prior. The actual State of Awakening is a place of emptiness, stillness and vastness – of just being. It is the space beyond words, explanations, and all that goes on in our thoughts. It is beyond thought. Thus in this sense it is hard to put into words. Initially this State of Awakening can be a very unnerving place when it is experienced because we do not understand what is happening since our understanding is based upon our conditioned responses. However as this conditioning loses its grip on us, we can better into the sacred space of stillness. This stillness or silence is much more than we might ordinarily think of it. It is where we find real Self. This is why people meditate. Through quietening the mind, we can touch Truth. In this state all is well, there is no urgency and nothing amiss. Frankly, there is nothing to say or do. As an example, recently a spiritual teacher I know stopped doing satsangs and when I asked him why, he said, ‘there’s nothing to say.’ But daily life must be lived. The difference is that now, as we re-enter the game of life after such realizations, we find ourselves more allowing, more calm and more grounded in the here and now. And the great discovery is that the wholeness we sought since babyhood is already here in the present moment – we (ego) just needed to get out of its way. Reena Gagneja – Spiritual Counsellor & Soul Plan Reader www.reenagagneja.com www.soulalert.com Copyright Reena Gagneja 2010-11-10

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